Imagine a future where it’s possible to ascertain the exact ingredients needed for the perfect holiday, based not on mere opinion but rather on neurological signals taken straight from your brain? Say hello to the ‘Emotional Travel Guide’.

It’s always an interesting collaboration when neuroscientists get together with travel industry professionals to try to bump up the travel experience into the 21st century and beyond. You know it’s always going to be hella exciting.

Technology is evolving at a dizzying pace, and although we haven’t quite reached the decade when artificial intelligence will surpass that of humans (a point in time known as the singularity), we’re making impressive progress.

Take, for example, the recent collaboration between the Singapore Tourism Board and neuroscientists from the UNSW and the University of Sydney in their foray into ‘Neuro-Tourism’ research.

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By using EEG technology to study the emotional responses of five Australian families during their travels in Singapore, the scientists were able to measure how every member of the family reacted to specific attractions and experiences – all in real time.

But that’s not the exciting part – hell no.

What’s totally amazing about all this is that the scientists were then able to collate all that data and create the Singapore Emotion Travel Guide, which helps travellers choose specific experiences in Singapore that will elicit the desired emotional response.

Ultimately, this could change the way Aussies plan their holidays from this point forward, signalling an exciting new chapter in travel.

The results of the Singapore based Neuro-Tourism study have revealed some interesting, objective insights into the emotional response of Australian families to Singapore.

Joel Pearson, Associate Professor, UNSW.

Pretty shmick, huh?!

Here’s a little video explaining it all in laymen’s terms:

However, not only does it help consumers plan their itineraries to taste based on how they want to feel on their holiday, but it’s also helpful to tourism boards as they can discover what kind of emotional responses their destination has on travellers.

But anyway, here are five of the key findings to come out of the research:

 

1. Unique experiences are happy experiences

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In Singapore, everyone in the family was happiest when doing things or visiting places that were unique to the destination, such as Gardens by the Bay and Sands SkyPark Observation Deck at Marina Bay Sands.

 

2. The best things in life are free…

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Pardon the cliché, but it’s true. The EEG study found that families were generally much happier and had more fun doing things that didn’t cost a dime, such as exploring the bustling streets of Chinatown or checking out iconic landmarks such as the Merlion.

 

3. Food is a holiday highlight & an experience in itself

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The study found that children were 10 percent happier eating local Singaporean food such as kaya toast (a traditional breakfast of coconut jam and toast) or an authentic meal at a hawker centre, rather than Western style equivalents.

Interestingly, eating chilli crab for the first time induced similar levels of excitement and stress as riding the MegaZip zip line on Sentosa Island.

 

4. Children actually enjoy museums & galleries

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Surprise, surprise parents!

Turns out kids actually do enjoy visiting museums and galleries as they are in visiting the zoo.

 

5. Visit Sentosa Island or the Zoo for excitement

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Sentosa Island was found to be the number one location for family-based ‘excitement’, with the MegaZip zip line and ClimbMax rope course offering a thrill for both kids and adults.

Do you think Emotional Travel Guides will take off with other destinations?